Spiritually Speaking | Hurricanes and holy ground

Written by BySister Mary Thill. Posted in October

Where there is sorrow there is holy ground.

—Oscar Wilde

Do you want a test to know if your work in life is over? If you’re still alive, it isn’t.

—A philosopher


If Oscar Wilde is right, there is a lot of holy ground around here lately. By “here” I mean in the US and other disaster areas on this side of the planet. Wow! Can you even comprehend all that has been happening since those Category 5 hurricanes and an 8.1 earthquake in Central America have shaken our earth, our lives, and our souls? Are you not yet numb from watching all the destruction, the wind ravaging the trees and buildings, the incessant rain covering everything, and people leaving their material possessions behind? And we’re only watching from afar; what must it be like to be in these storms and floods and earthquakes? Even if you know someone in the region of the storms, can you really comprehend what it’s like to lose so much that is near and dear?

Yes, indeed, there is a lot of holy ground where there is so much sorrow!

As so many of the reporters and government officials have noted, there have been many brave and heroic people coming to the rescue of so many people, especially the most vulnerable. Who can forget the image of elderly residents of a care facility in Texas up to their waists in water waiting for help?

Or the many ordinary fishing boats bringing out people and their pets from so many flooded areas in the Houston area? First responders, the National Guard, local law enforcement personnel, any and all were put to the test trying to rescue and later recover as many people as possible. What about me? What about you? What can we do to help out in this overwhelmingly difficult time in our history?

Sister Christine Schenk, a nurse and theologian, often writes about some problem or event being a “God job.” She definitely advocates prayer as an important response to the world’s challenges, but sometimes we just have to realize that it may just be too much for us and we must let go and let God do the work. We need to remember that God, as many of us believe, is in charge and God will take care of things in God’s own time. Unfortunately, God’s time doesn’t necessarily coincide with our time. After all, eternity is not an earth measure of time. So we do what we can to help our neighbor. We pray. We donate to agencies and organizations who specialize in directly helping those in need. We may volunteer our time, talent, or financial resources and even open our homes to a person or family in need. I remember many people coming north after hurricane Katrina who found safe and welcoming homes after the devastation experienced along the Gulf Coast. Let’s not forget the refugees from other parts of the world who also need a safe and welcoming place to live, work, survive, and thrive.

We can all do something. We can all help someone. We can all continue to look for ways to help one another because there is much to do in this chaotic world. Just as the philosopher asks, “Do you want a test to know if your work in life is over? If you’re still alive, it isn’t.” The hurricanes, the earthquakes, the mudslides, the wars all over this planet certainly provide us with plenty of work to do. What will you do?❦

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